(Surgical Wound Dehiscence; Operative Wound Dehiscence)
by Catherine Duffek, MLS, MS
Wound dehiscence is the parting of the layers of a surgical wound. Either the surface layers separate or the whole wound splits open. This is a serious condition and requires care from your doctor.
Wound dehiscence varies depending on the kind of surgery you have. The following is a list of generalized causes:
Risk Factors TOP
Factors that may increase your chance of wound dehiscence include:
Wound dehiscence may cause:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and examine the surgical area. Tests may include the following:
Laboratory tests, such as:
Imaging tests, such as:
Treatment may include:
To help reduce your chance of wound dehiscence:
American College of Surgeons
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Canadian Association of Wound Care
The Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons
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Dorland WN. Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders, Harcourt Health Sciences; 2005.
Porter RS. The Merck Manual of Medical Information Home Edition. 2nd ed. Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck Research Laboratories; 2004.
Schwartz S, Brunicardi F, et al. Schwartz’s Principles of Surgery. 8th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2007.
Surgical site infection—prevention. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
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Updated September 29, 2014. Accessed September 30, 2014.
Last reviewed September 2015 by Donald Buck, MD
Last Updated: 9/30/2013